Couple says their livelihood of handmade toys was inside a rented U-Haul that was stolen

Published: Nov. 26, 2021 at 6:46 PM AKST|Updated: Nov. 29, 2021 at 2:24 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A Wasilla couple who makes wooden toys said they feel like they encountered a real-life Grinch after a truckload of their toys were stolen last weekend.

Les and Margaret Fetrow had just wrapped up a weekend of selling their handmade wooden cars, trucks and trains at a craft fair in the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage. They packed everything up into a rented U-Haul truck and spent the night at an Anchorage hotel.

“Monday morning when I got up to go out there and get the truck started, that’s when I discovered it was gone,” said Les Fetrow. “Just like that.”

Fetrow said the person who took the truck probably had no idea what was inside, but it meant a lot to the Fetrow’s. Sales of the wooden toys supplement their retirement income. Les Fetrow said he filed a police report valuing the toys at $17,000. The tools and display items that were stolen as well were valued at another $5,000. Without his tools, he said it will cost even more to start over.

For now, the alleged thief has put an early end to their craft fair season. The couple had planned to have a booth at the Colony High fair in Palmer this weekend, but don’t have enough to fill it.

“They like our toys and they want us to be there, but we can’t,” said Margaret Fetrow.

The Fetrow’s said they have many customers who have purchased toys from them in the nearly 20 years they’ve been making them. They’re hoping people who are familiar with their toys will keep an eye out if they spot them being sold elsewhere or online.

They also have friends searching for the U-Haul, described as a 15-foot box car with Arizona plates numbered AE58206.

Fetrow said the hotel was able to provide security video to police which shows a woman entering the passenger side of the truck before it took off. They’re hopeful it may generate some leads. The Anchorage Police Department case number is 21-37875.

On Monday, Nov. 29, an Anchorage police spokesperson confirmed that police found the missing U-Haul vehicle parked on the side of a residential street in South Anchorage. The vehicle was unoccupied, and also empty, according to the department.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with additional information.

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